The Detroit rapper Boldy James has been making stark, dead-eyed street-life music for a long time now; we put him in our old Mixtape Of The Week column way back in 2012. A couple of weeks ago, Boldy James released The Price Of Tea In China, a truly excellent new album produced entirely by the Alchemist. The LP is about as good as neo-boom-bap gets. Its threats and stories are convincingly dusty and intricately worded, and its beats are quietly psychedelic in the best way. Even the guest verses are impeccably curated: Freddie Gibbs, Benny The Butcher, Evidence, young genius Vince Staples. And today, Boldy has shared a video for the Staples collab “Surf & Turf.”
“Surf & Turf” is a strong encapsulation of the kind of album that The Price Of Tea In China is. There’s no hook; it’s just Boldy and Vince rapping about what it’s like to live criminal lives over a mellow, expansive beat. Both rapper bring their A-games, and Boldy’s line about his son thinking he doesn’t love him is a real heart-kicker.
The Lonewolf-directed video is a grainy, bare-bones affair — just guys rapping in after-dark parks and abandoned houses. It’s a heavy, menacing atmosphere to match the song. Below, watch that video, as well as the clip for “Speed Demon Freestyle,” another of the tracks from The Price Of Tea In China.
The self-released The Price Of Tea In China is out now.